While I am regarded as a liberal, I do have Republican friends and recent conversations with them have often been about who the Republicans will put up against Obama in 2012. What follows is my somewhat shallow assessment of some of the possible candidates.
While its seems a bit surreal, Donald Trump is actually polling competitively against some of the other likely candidates. He does have some appeal, given his fame and wealth. However, by appearing to take up the birther line it seems likely that he has damaged his credibility among more serious minded voters. I am with Karl Rove on this point. I don’t think he has much of a chance of getting the nomination. However, I would not count him out completely-just imagine what a Trump & Palin ticket would do for the ratings.
While the liberal media loves keeping Sarah Palin in the news, her standing with Republicans seems to have been steadily declining. While she is a Tea Party darling, I doubt that she can pull together enough support to get nominated as the presidential candidate. However, she clearly has a shot at the VP slot again.
Mike Huckabee has quite a bit going for him, not just his winning first name. He has the charisma and experience to make a solid run. However, he is hindered somewhat by his track record and some voters will be uncomfortable with his religious views. He also has a sweet gig on Fox, which he might be reluctant to give up. However, he does seem to be a far more substantial candidate than either Trump or Palin.
Mitt Romney is doing well in the polls and looks like a movie version of the president, but has to worry about the horrible specter of his success as governor of Massachusetts . As governor he was able to work out a successful health care plan for the state-one that served as model for some parts of Obamacare. He also seemed liberal in those days-no doubt due to the infectious nature of Massachusetts’ liberalism (or maybe due to the lingering effects of Innsmouth). Ironically, Romney will have to distance himself from his past self in order to get the nomination. After all, much of what he did to turn Massachusetts around goes against the Tea Party/Republican agenda today. There is also the fact that he is a Mormon-although Kennedy was able to overcome comparable worries about his being a Catholic.
Michelle Bachmann is a Tea Party darling and seems to appeal to certain base elements of the Republican party. However, her historical errors, lack of understanding of the Constitution, and amazing lies will probably hamper her appeal as a candidate among more moderate Republicans and the general population.But, some folks really love her anti-gay stance and perhaps she can parlay this into nomination success.
In any case, a Bachmann-Palin or Trump-Bachmann ticket would both be ten ring media circuses and supply comedians with material for decades to come.
Off the top of my head, I would say that a Romney-Huckabee ticket would be an excellent choice. They both seem reasonably rational and have significant experience in politics. Plus, Huckabee can rock. There are, of course, some other folks who might throw their hats in. Feel free to bring them up.